Salmon feed could cut its carbon emissions by 41% if switched from Brazilian to European soy, according to new study

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4,700 farmers in Croatia, Serbia and Romania grow soya for the certified Europe Soya SPC for aquafeed market.

The carbon footprint of farmed fish feed in Norway could be significantly reduced by replacing Brazilian soy with certified Europe Soya, according to a new study in a report by the Research Institute of Organiz Agriculture (Fibl) and Footprint-consult in Austria.

If Norwegian salmon feed switches to certified Europe Soya, the country will be able to cut 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 which equals almost three percent of Norway´s national gross greenhouse gas emissions.

The report, commissioned by the Vienna-based non-for-profit Donau Soja Organisation, argued that the carbon footprint of one kilogram of Europe Soya certified soya protein concentrate (SPC) is 1.6 kg CO2-equivalence. This is 4.2 times less than the Brazilian SPC default (6.7 kg CO2-equivalence per kg SPC).

The report took into account agricultural production, SPC processing and transport when calculating the emissions. Land-use change was found to be the largest lever in reducing CO2 emissions. Additionally, the results showed reduced transport emissions in the Europe Soya certified scenario compared to the Brazilian default.

“Certified Europe Soya proves to be more sustainable, with reduced pesticides use, supports European agriculture and economies. It is also able to create more resilience from imported soya supply from South America,” it wrote.

“The aquaculture industry is highly dependent on sourcing soy protein concentrate (SPC) from Brazil. The import is often related to social and environmental concerns such as deforestation and conversion of natural ecosystems. The recent research shows that shifting from Brazilian standard SPC to Europe Soya certified SPC will dramatically cut CO2 emissions, and this is important news for the industry to take into account”, said Executive Director of the Donau Soja Organisation Marija Kalentic.

The Sodrugestvo Group’s factory in Kaliningrad, Russia. PHOTO: Sodrugestvo Group

She added that more than 4,700 farmers in Croatia, Serbia and Romania are growing soya for the certified Europe Soya SPC for the aquafeed market.

Donau Soja is an independent non-for-profit member-based organisation which it says it working towards a “sustainable, safe and European protein supply”.

Representative Carsten Lentz Storm from the Sodrugestvo Group, one Europe’s largest European soybean processors, said: “These are important findings for the entire European seafood industry working towards a more sustainable value chain. In addition to the carbon footprint reduction, there are also other benefits associated with changing to Europe Soya certified soy. The standard guarantees non-GMO reduced pesticides use and European origin and traceability”.